US 3751038 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 OKeefe 14 1 Aug.7, 1973 GIMBAL-MOUNTED GAME BOARD TILTABLE BY CONTROL STICK  Inventor: Jack Victor OKeefe, 726 W.
Dempster St., Apt. H 204, Mt. Prospect, 111. 60056  Filed: June 9, 1971  Appl. No.: 151,319
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,384,503 11/1964 France 273 110 85,723 8/1965 France 273 110 421,190 12 1934 Great Britain 273/110 1,007,226 4/1957 Germany 273/110 Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Assistant Examiner-Amold W. Kramer Att0rney-E. Manning Giles et a1.
 ABSTRACT A game device having a laterally and longitudinally tiltable platform manually manipulable by means ofa control stick. Cooperating game boards which are removably mountable on said platform are provided with playing surfaces having raised or recessed portions adapted to serve as obstacles or traps for ball-shaped playing members used therewith.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures I48 0' o l o} 01 o --o o /8 I l xl l\ La /4A SHEET 1 OF 2 PATENIEDAUB Hm T a m PAIENIED AUG 7 I975 SHEET 2 BF 2 GIMBAL-MOUNTED GAME BOARD TILTABLE BY CONTROL STICK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION is now considered to be the best mode in which to apply these principles.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings forming a part of the specification, and in which like numerals are employed to designate like parts throughout the same:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a game device embodying the present invention, showing one of the Game devices of this general type have been known g boards in Positlml the g pp P heretofore wherein a game board is provided with protrusions or recesses which serve as obstacles or traps and mechanical means are supplied to enable tilting the board in selected directions to cause a ball, rolling FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the game device of FIG.
l with portions of the inserted game board support plate cut away to show the interior;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken, as indicated, along freely on the surface of the board, to avoid such obstathe line of 2; and
cles or traps or to become seated in some selected recess. Such games may be designed to appeal primarily to children or to adults, or they may have specific purposes such as occupational therapy where manual dexterity needs to be developed. 1
The primary object of the present invention is to provide a game device of this general type with increased versatility as an amusement device for all age levels and as a training tool. More particularly, the object of the present inventionis to provide a game device of the foregoing type which can be easily modified in terms of the level of skill required for successful manipulation of the game ball over the game surface so that the same basic game structure can be utilized for amusement both by young children and adults as well as by handicapped persons desiring to improve their manual dexterity.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The game device herein involves controlling the movement ofa game ball over a game surface by tilting the game surface. The game surface is selectively tiltable in various directions by manipulating a control stick mechanicallyconnected to the game board. With the present invention, a set of game boards is provided, each having a specially designed game surface over which the game ball is to be manipulated, and each having indentations, mazes, courses, and the like which establish specific game objectives of varying degrees of difficulty. Each game board is readily removable and replaceable on the game device so that one such device enables playing any number of different games with different subject matter and different levels of difficulty, simply by changing game boards.
In the preferred embodiment illustrated herein the common control unit includes a support for removably supporting the game boards individually which is gimbal-mounted for tilting action about a pair of orthogonally oriented axes. Tilting action of the support is accomplished through manipulation of a single control stick, much like the control stick in an aircraft. The use of a single control stick is especially advantageous when the device is to be used by persons having various levels of skill and dexteritysince the simplicity or difficulty of each game is determined by the design of the respective game boards.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description and claims and are illustrated in the accompanying drawings which show structure embodying preferred features of the present invention and the principles thereof, and what FIG. 4 illustrates a set of alternate game boards for use with the game device support plate.
With reference now to the drawings, the presently preferred embodiment of my game device is designated by the reference numeral 10. Inaccordance with this invention, a common game control unit 12 is adapted to receive a game board 14, which is one of a set of such game boards which are removably mounted on said controlunit 12.
In the illustrated embodiment the game boards 14 comprise flat, generally rectangular sheets of relatively rigid material such as Masonite board or other flat, smooth surfaced board. Each game board. 14 is provided with grooves, concavities, openings, protrusions and thelike, along with suitable decorations depending upon the game.
The common game control unit 12 illustrated herein comprises a main frame of rectangular generally boxlike configuration having a front wall 15, a rear wall 16 and opposed side walls 18 and 20. A cross member 16C serves as a transverse structural member between the respective sidewalls 18 and 20 and provides support for the control and support mechanisms of the control unit as will be explained hereinafter. Said cross member 16C also separates the game board area from the control area of the frame, as shown in FIG. 2. Tilting action of the game board 14 is controlled by manipulation of a control stick 26, which extends vertically upward above the control unit 12, said control stick 26 projects through an opening 64 in a top cover plate 62 which is disposed on the control unit 12 between the front wall 15, the cross member 16C, and the opposed side walls 18 and 20.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the control unit 12 utilizes a support means 24 on which the selected game board 14 is removably mounted. Said support means 24 comprises a boxlike inner frame 28 which is provided with supporting ribs 288 along the inner faces of opposite sides of said frame 28 and adjacent the bottom edges thereof. To provide for longitudinal tilting movement of the support means 24, the inner frame 28 is supported by aligned pins 36 and 38 to an outer frame 30 of similar rectangular configuration which is interposed between said inner frame 28 and the front wall 15, rear wall 16 and opposed side walls 18 and 20 of the game control unit 12. The outer frame 30 is mounted for lateral tilting about pin 32 and shaft 33 whichare axially aligned. Shaft 34 is fixed to the outer frame 30 and is journaled through cross member 16C and into fixed engagement with control shaft 40 which is, in turn, fixed to the front wall 15 of the base 12 by ashaft 33 axially aligned with shaft 34 and. pin 32. Thus, turning of the control bracket 40 in either direction causes a corresponding tilting of the outer frame 30 about axis A-A.
Control bracket 40 is provided with an elongated slot 42 extending therethrough and aligned with axis A-A. Control stick 26 is mounted in the slot 42 and secured to said control bracket 40 by means of a pin 44 in a manner to permit forward and backward movement pivoting on the axis parallel to axis AA. In the illustrated embodiment, one end of an elongated rod 48 is connected at linkage 46 to the lower region of control stick 26 and the other end of said rod 48 is connected to one end of a bell crank 50 which is pivotally mounted on a bracket 52 secured to the rearwall 16 of the base 12, beneath support means 24. A short link 56 is connected to the other end of the bell crank 50 by means of a ring connector 51 on the underside of inner frame 28. Bell crank 50 is supported on bracket 52 by means of a pivot 54, said bracket 52 being affixed to rear' wall 16 by appropriate mounting means 53.
in operation, when a player exerts lateral pressure on the control stick 26 it results in a tilting of the support means 24, while forward or backward movement of the control stick causes a corresponding movement thereof. The player may apply lateral and forward or backward movement to the control stick 26 simultaneously, with any desired amount of movement along each of the respective axes, A.-A and AA. By so manipulating the control stick 26, the player, is able to tilt the game board 14 mounted on the inner frame 28 to any desired inclination in any direction he chooses. By doing so, he is able to cause a free-rolling ball (not shown) resting on the game board 14 to move in the direction of such inclination and he can instantly change the direction of movement of such ball by manipulating the control stick 26 to change the inclination of the game board .14. l
it is contemplated that some of the game boards 14 would be provided with recesses 14A and with holes 14B large enough to permit the game ball to fall through. in order to return the ball to the control stick end of the game device 10, a bottom plate 58 is mounted between the respective walls 15, 16, 18 and 20 of the main frame adjacent the bottom edges thereof, said bottom plate 58 being inclined so that the portion mounted on the rear wall 16 ishigher than the portion mounted on the front wall 15. Guides 59 are secured to said bottom plate as shown in FIG. 2. A horizontally disposed elongated opening 60 is provided in the front wall 15, just above the bottom plate 58, said opening 60 being large enough to permit the game ball to be removed through said opening 60. Thus when the ball drops through a hole 14A in the game board 14, it lands on the bottom plate 58 and is caused by the inclination thereof to roll toward the front wall 15. As it nears the front wall 15, the ball may strike either of the guides 59 and will be caused thereby to roll toward the opening 60, where the player may conveniently insert a thumb and finger through the opening 60, grasp the ball, and remove it for further or continued use.
In order to prevent excessive control stick displacement, a cover plate 62 is mounted on the front wall and the cross member 16C over the control bracket 40. Said cover plate 62 is provided with a circular opening 64 through which the control stick 26 passes. Said circular opening 64 is of a diameter sufficient to permit free movement of the control stick 26 in any direction as far as it is likely to be moved in the course of a game beyond.
The game device 10 is provided with any desired number of removable game boards 14. Certain of said game boards 14 may involve an exceedingly simple arrangement of designs and recesses, protrusions, holes and the like for use by young persons or those with limited manual dexterity. Other game boards 14 may be of increasing difficulty or the subject matter may be adapted to more adult interests.
One of the game boards 14 contemplated herein is shown in FIG. 1 in position on the supporting ribs 288 in the inner frame 28. The surface of the game board 14 is provided with one or more recesses 14A and one or more holes 148. The object of the game would be to place a ball on the surface of the game board 14 and then causing the ball to move about on the surface of the board 14 by manipulating the control stick 26 until the ball is seated in one or more of the recesses 14A without dropping through any of the holes 148.
Two other examples of game boards 14 are illustrated in FIG. 4. The upper board shows the head of a clown and has a recess 14A into which the player at-. tempts to roll the ball without losing it through a hole in said board. The lower game board 14 shows a ski jump and slalom trail through which the player would undertake to move the ball. It will be understood that the subjects and designs of the game boards 14 are unlimited and my invention therefore is not restricted to any specific game boards but rather contemplates the combination shown and described herein with any removable game boards adapted to be used with a ball or any similar game member which can be caused to move across the surface of the board through selective tilting of the board in various directions permit only a predetermined amount of control stick displacement in any given direction.
-As stated hereinabove, the game device of the present invention is readily adaptable for use by persons having various degrees of manipulative skill simply by interchange of the game boards 14. All of the game boards of the set of game boards are of substantially identical shape and size, conforming to the inner dimensions of inner frame 28. With reference to FIG. 3, it will be noted that the walls of the inner frame 28 extend vertically above the supported game board several times the thickness of the game board so as to provide a secure supporting structure as well as a vertical game wall.
Thus, while preferred constructional features of the invention are embodied in the structure illustrated herein, it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a game device of the type wherein a manipulable game board is adapted to be tilted in various directions to cause a movable game member on the surface thereof to move toward selected objectives, the combi nation of a base, a support member manipulably mounted on said base, a controller movably mounted on said base and operably connected to said support member, and a game board removably mountable on said support member, said base comprising a pair of spaced, elongated sidewalls, a pair of opposed end walls interposed between and connected at their respective ends to said sidewalls, and an intermediate wall disposed laterally between said sidewalls and secured thereto to form a partition between a peripherally-enclosed game section of said base at one side of said intermediate wall and a control section at the other side thereof, said support member comprising cooperating inner and outer frame members, said outer frame member corresponding in peripheral configuration to said game section of said base but of reduced dimension with respect thereto, said outer frame member being nested within said game section and being pivotally secured thereto along a pivot axis at two opposed locations respectively to the game section end wall and to said intermediate wall of said base, said inner frame member corresponding in peripheral configuration to said outer frame member but of reduced dimension with respect thereto, said inner frame member being nested within said outer frame member and being pivotally secured thereto in two axially opposed locations substantially parallel to said end walls, said inner frame having inwardly projecting means to removably support said game board within said frame, said controller comprising the combination of a cross member pivotally mounted within said control area along said pivot axis in fixed engagement with said outer frame and an upstanding control stick pivotally secured to said cross member for pivoting about an axis transverse to said pivot axis and having a control shaft pivotally connecting said control stick to said inner frame.
2. The combination of a game device in accordance with claim 1 with a removable game board adapted to receive a cooperating spherical game member, said game board being provided with a plurality of concavities, apertures and raised portions adapted to guide and receive said spherical game member in response to lateral and longitudinal tilting of said game board through manipulation of said control stick.
3. A game device in accordance with claim 2 wherein said base is provided with a floor member disposed below said inner and outer frames and sloped toward the end wall of said base at the control section end thereof, said end wall being provided with an access opening immediately above said floormember.